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Lindsay SimpsonFormer FHS standout is Student Athlete of the Year.

Lindsay Simpson has turned heads all season during her freshman season of basketball at Western Carolina University. The former Franklin High School player holds the point record at her alma mater with 2,693 points, a legacy that could be hard to match for future athletes.

Since leaving FHS to play for WCU, Simpson has done nothing but impress spectators with her ability to stand out among the other players on the court with her effective presence. She ended the season as the school's top scorer and consistent starting guard. She averaged 7.2 points per game this season and scored in double digits during nine outings, one of which she put up 25 points for her most impressive showing.

With numbers like these, it is not surprising that she has been named Western's Female SAAC Student Athlete of the Year. Last Tuesday, WCU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted its fifth annual A-Cat-Emy Awards Ceremony to honor student-athletes not only for their athletic achievements, but also for their actions off the court, field, or track.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Student Athlete Advisory Committee was established to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image according to its mission.

WCU's SAAC purpose is to promote and actively encourage the involvement of student- athletes on campus and in their communities, while allowing those student-athletes to have an open line of communication to voice their concerns to institutional administrations and the conference office.

Simpson’s mother, Anna Shields, attended the ceremony to support her daughter.

“We were there to cheer her on. She didn't know she was even nominated for Student- Athlete of the Year,” said Shields. “She was up for another award and she didn't win. When the nominees were announced for Student-Athlete, we were thinking there was no way. She's a freshman and she's up against all of these athletes. There were juniors and seniors up for it. Lindsay had already made up her mind that it was a huge honor just to be nominated. When they called out her name, we were just so excited and proud of her.”

The award is just one more in a long line of accomplishments for Simpson. Most recently, she was named to the 2013 Southern Conference All-Freshmen team by the league's coaches as well as the SoCon Sports Media Association. While at Franklin High School, she was named WNC's “Player of the Year,” All District “Player of the Year,” the 3A Western North Carolina Athletic Conference “Player of the Year,” and was selected to the Associated Press 1st team All State. She also led the state in scoring her junior year with an average of 30 points a game and led the Franklin Panthers to a WNCAC tournament title.

“I am truly honored, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates,” said Simpson. “Between them and my coaches, I am able to play to the best of my abilities. My coaches, they put me where I need to be so it will help me play the best I can.”

The Lady Catamounts finished their 2012- 2013 basketball season with a 7-23 overall record and 5-15 in the Southern Conference, but Simpson hopes to improve those numbers next season.

“I'm happy that I got this award, but I would trade it for more victories. Winning as a team is what it's all about,” she said. “I'm hoping that we can take the things we did right this year, build off of them and come back even stronger next year.”


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